Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has addressed why, despite a court judgment supporting the move, the federal government has yet to formally classify bandits as terrorists.
The Minister claimed the process has taken so long because they are striving to follow worldwide best practices, according to an interview on NTA’s Good Morning Nigeria Show.
Malami said that the federal government promptly gazetted IPOB’s designation as terrorists on the same day that Justice Abdu Kafarati issued the order in 2017, because of the threats to lives and property they have caused in the country.
He said: “Government has a responsibility to act but within the context of acting, you equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement and one of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place.
“With that in mind, Nigeria acted, first by proscribing IPOB, taking into consideration the threats to lives and properties they have caused in the nation. Boko Haram was proscribed.
“Now, we are confronted with another threat in the North-West associated with banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and in all these, these people are using weapons to attack Nigerians, kidnap them and created a situation of serious security challenge and fear in the system.
“Whatever military hardware you acquire there are limits within the context of the international convention as to how it can be used, when it can be used and against who it can be used. And that is how the idea of looking at the activities of the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers come into being.
“Our assessment taking into consideration that they are causing a major threat to the territorial peaceful co-existence and causing a major threat to lives with weapons, the idea then came about that indeed they (bandits) have satisfied the criteria of being declared terrorists within the context of the law so that whatever military hardware at the disposal of the Federal Government can best be used against them within the context of the international convention and within the context of the law.”